UUP: “Hands off southern trade unions!”

This is more Splintered Sunrise’s province than mine (pun diplomatically unintended), but the Republic’s increasingly assailed trade unions found an unlikely champion this weekend, in the form of UUP councillor (and twice Lord Mayor of Belfast) Jim Rodgers.

Rodgers, in his capacity as a director of Glentoran F.C., rightfully took exception to Garda heavy-handedness at Saturday’s Setanta Sports Cup fixture between his side and Bohemians at Dalymount Park.

Our august Guardians of the Peace reportedly took exception to attempts on the part of someone in the sizeable travelling support to erect a Northern Ireland flag in the Des Kelly stand. By “erect”, they presumably mean “drape over the hoardings”, although the sight of a boozed-up Nordie casual shinning up the flagpole at the end of the Jodi stand would have been one for the scrapbook.

Quoth Cllr. Rodgers:

“I would have to point the finger at the policing, which left a lot to be desired,” he said.

“We’ve seen it before with Linfield fans. Instead of operating a sensible policing policy, they go at it like a bull in a china shop, it doesn’t help community relations.

“The Garda Siochana need specialist training in how to handle crowds. We see it with trade union demonstrations down south, they seem to overreact.”

Give the chap a fucking cigar, he’s spot-on on every score. In addition to which, he deftly avoided mentioning the Love Ulster débâcle. Any chance of shipping him off to the front line in the War on Plunder out west?

Speaking of overreactions, the story as viewed through the psychedelic prism of the Evening Herald is barely recognisable.

The Herald witnessed first hand how gangs aligned to the East Belfast club spread an air of menace and hate in and around the Phibsboro area.

As tens of thousands of rugby fans spilled out of nearby Croke Park following Ireland’s fantastic win against Wales, hordes of Northern soccer fans were intent on creating havoc less than a mile away.

This newspaper also saw how gardai tried to defuse the situation by operating a friendly attitude with aggressive Glentoran supporters.

Officials from the Belfast club said they were unhappy at the use of the dogs and the speed with which the Public Order Unit was brought in. Five men, all Glentoran fans and all in their 30s and 40s, were charged for public order offences and appeared in court this morning after being released on bail.

Three of the men were arrested shortly after the kick off in the game with the other two Glentoran fans being arrested before the game. It is believed that the skirmishes within the ground started when Glentoran supporters were prevented from erecting a Northern Ireland flag, an act seen by many as one of open provocation.

Leaving aside all Baudrillardian cogitations on whether it’s possible to see an act in a particular light if the act did not take place, the indignation evinced at the fact that these working-class thugs were practically breathing the same air as the rugger buggers exiting Croke Park is telling. I mean, little Tiernán could have heard a Northside accent or positively anything.

Anyway, four Glensmen got their collars felt and were up before Judge Cormac Dunne this afternoon. Everyone got the Probation Act and went home, which can’t but cast doubt on the submitted statement that a defendant ‘became “abusive and extremely violent to gardaí, staff and security working at the venue.”’ If he’d been “extremely violent” to anyone, least of all a Guard, he wouldn’t be going home with a smack on the wrist and a note for mother.

Actually, the only flag on display which offended me was that ridiculous little tricolour which Bohs have been sporting on the back of their collars for the past few years. Not only is it gratuitously jingoistic, but it clashes horrendously with their beautiful red and black stripes.

PS: This post was going to be a delayed reaction to the Blueshirt Blueprint, but I see WorldByStorm is all over it on CLR. It’s an interesting gambit, but why does it remind me of this?


2 Responses to “UUP: “Hands off southern trade unions!””

  1. sonofstan Says:

    Spot on.The Glens fans were noisy, some may have had a drink or two, they were unapologetic about being from NI, and loud in proclaiming all the ways in which they were not like us, but apart from that, well, they were behaving like fans at a proper football match. I take a crescendo of such abuse for 90 minutes from a bunch of East Belfast loyalists over having to go to Belfield or the Morton Stadium any day of the week.

  2. WorldbyStorm Says:

    I’d be very interested to see your thoughts on the FG pitch to the voters of Ireland, above and beyond that very telling comparison… 🙂

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